Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Robin R. Whitebird, PhD


Social Work


This banded dissertation is focused on amplifying LGBTQ voices in social work education and practice through an exploration of language, policies, standards, and practices used in social work education. Using a historical lens, feminist, queer, and critical theories were used to examine issues of power, voice, context, and social justice.

The first product is a conceptual paper that examines the history of the language used in social work education related to how we think and talk about diversity. This examination includes a critique of the use of the term difference and the othering impact it can have on LGBTQ individuals and communities, deeming LGBTQ people as inherently different, deviant, or abnormal based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression.

The second product is a historical content analysis examining the conversation at the Council on Social Work Education regarding LGBTQ related issues from 1980-2015. This analysis expands on the literature and highlights tensions as well as advocacy efforts related to a variety of issues, most notably a recurring debate regarding policies and ethical standards that polarized religious freedom and LGBTQ rights.

The third product is a presentation on product one, the conceptual paper exploring the language used to understand and talk about diversity in social work education over time. The presentation included the author’s recommendation to remove the term difference from the social work education competency language in an effort to move away from a binary and dominate subordinate language structure that can other people. The LGBTQ community served as an example group to illustrate the impact in practice.

This banded dissertation is aimed at amplifying LGBTQ voices through exploration and documentation of issues that impact LTBTQ people in social work education and practice. This work provides several points of opportunity for curricular infusion related to social work education history, diversity, social justice, and ethics as well as opportunities for additional research that could further amplify LGBTQ voices in social work education and practice, such as conducting individual interviews and developing a case study.

Included in

Social Work Commons